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Fatigue Management Plan Risk Assessment

Jul 7, 2020NSW Trains

Members will recall the February Loco Express article regarding the NSW Trains proposal to trial their fatigue management plan at various depots or locations. Wyong station staff have been trialling their roster with the new principles applied since June, however train crew have not been affected until now. Dubbo and Wollongong depots have been ear marked to trial the new fatigue plan with Dubbo undertaking a risk assessment of their current roster as a part of the initial process. That risk assessment found that their roster did not meet the new principles of the fatigue plan with drivers not getting 10hrs in barracks and coming forward on their second day sign on time by more than 2 hrs.

As a result of these risks being identified, management were advised of control measures which were “taken on board”. As a control measure to allow 10hrs in barracks, the Sydney depot could prepare and place the train at Sydney Terminal and the Dubbo driver would then get the required 10hrs. The secondary principle of no forward rotation could not be addressed and management requested the Dubbo rostering committee to “tweak” their roster and break up the Sydney barracks working to limit the risk of fatigue from consecutive barracks jobs. This “tweak” could not be attained without breaking up the whole roster and starting again, something which would have severely affected the Dubbo driver’s lifestyle and their ability to work overtime if required.

An easy fix to attain the primary principle of 10hrs in barracks was overlooked for a secondary principle application that would result in dramatic changes to the Dubbo roster. On review, the Dubbo rostering committee found it impossible to change the current roster and the status quo remains. Additionally, if these principles cannot be met on the Dubbo roster it begs the question, how will this process unfold in every other Regional depot and what happens when a risk is identified in one depot that applies in every other depot? It will be interesting to see how this process develops over the coming months as there will certainly be more issues raised.